Spain Slams Israel’s ‘False’, ‘Out of Place’ and ‘Unacceptable’ Accusations Against Prime Minister

Spanish Foreign Minister, Jose Manuel Albares, condemned Israel’s accusations against the Spanish and Belgian prime ministers on Friday as “false”, “out of place” and “unacceptable”.

“There will be a response,” warned Albares, hours later Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said the two European leaders were “giving support to terrorism”.

Cohen said Israel will also summon both nations’ ambassadors in Tel Aviv for a “harsh rebuke”.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office also claimed that Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, and Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, did “not place total responsibility on Hamas for the crimes against humanity.”

Amid the escalating diplomatic conflict, Albares said Israel’s

false accusations were “especially serious” given the fact that Spain is representing the EU as the current President of the EU Council, a position that will be handed over to Belgium on 1 January, 2024.

Albares emphasised that the Spanish government has condemned the Hamas attack, called for the unconditional release of the hostages, and supported Israel’s right to defend itself.

This is not incompatible with the message we’ve been repeating since day one … the right to defend itself must be with the scrupulous respect towards international humanitarian law

Albares told Spanish media, pointing to the “unbearable number of Palestinian victims, including children”.

One of Sanchez’s main aims for his tour of Israel, Palestine and Egypt over the past two days, where he met with leaders including Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, was to lay the groundwork for peace talks.

“Violence will only lead to more violence. We need to replace violence with hope and peace,” said Sanchez on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing on Friday.

However, his peace tour ended in a diplomatic blow-up with Israel.

“Spaniards and the international community will always find Spain on the team of those who build peace,” said Albares.

This is not the first diplomatic spat between Madrid and Tel Aviv since 7 October,  although it is the biggest.

In October, the Israeli Embassy in Madrid accused some Spanish ministers of being aligned with “ISIS-like terrorism” due to their criticism of the Israeli siege and bombardment of Gaza.

Speaking from Egypt on Friday, Sanchez also announced that, while Spain will advocate at the EU level for the recognition of the State of Palestine, he is open to a unilateral recognition if the other nations do not agree.

Spain’s Foreign Ministry defended the ministers at the time, saying Israel was misrepresenting their views and insisting that leaders can share their opinions freely in Spain.

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